A Punter’s Perspective March 2014: No Such Things As Mistakes

Oops! There are no such things as mistakes.
Oops! There are no such things as mistakes.

A Punter’s Perspective: Random observations on the wide, weird world of folk from the side of the stage

No Such Things As Mistakes Part I

First published in Trad and Now magazine, March 2014

As has been the case from time to time in the seven years plus of A Punter’s Perspective, ’tis the night before deadline and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a half-decent idea for a folk music magazine article.

Realising my dilemma on the train to work today, I turned to the world’s font of most knowledge (and funny cat videos): Twitter. And I asked publicly to all, and pointedly to three or four music bloggers, what might a good topic be.

Image courtesy of The Dutch Guy
Image courtesy of The Dutch Guy

The answer came from a former radio presenter now blogger/vlogger (a kindred spirit, then) from the Netherlands who goes by the eponymous title of ‘The Dutch Guy’ (@DutchGuyOnAir), and he suggested:

“How about talking about some mistakes indie artists might make?”

By curious coincidence, this is a topic I’d considered before and only pulled back from it at the risk of causing offence.

Causing offence is a service I often provide — usually unintentionally.

I’ve put enough noses out of joint in the music world in the past nine years by commission, omission or at the very least, blind stupidity, and have no need to add to that score by inadvertent misadventure.

I often say that I can have intelligence insulted without watching certain TV programs or listening to certain radio stations. (And that I didn’t mention them by name is at least a sign that I’m learning — slowly.)

Similarly, I have no need to add to the great heaving morass of people I have annoyed by mistake or misinterpretation by going out of my way to rile them up. It’s just not how I’m wired and those who I run into who DO delight in this way of living, well, I just edge slowly away from them and run.

[UPDATE: This article was written at a time when I was pretty happy with life: working 6.5hrs a day at a very large multinational company — the one that never forgets that its THEIR money — bouncing between two locations (a girlfriend’s place in the south west of Sydney and a three-week on, three-week off arrangement taking care of a Tibetan Terrier and a three-level mansion of a place high, high up above the Pittwater on Sydney’s northern beaches.

I did not know it at the time, but all three were: mistakes. But maybe I had to have all of those fall and fail to embed the lessons of crowing too noisily about when things are going well. If you don’t know the parable about the bird that finds warmth and heat from a very unexpected place, then announces it to the world, ask me sometime. It’s not for here or I too could get covered in ship.]

Therefore, some disclaimers.

I am totally in awe of musicians, artists and singer-songwriters.

The concept of playing a three to 20-stringed instrument (or one you blow, slap or pump) while singing and possibly dancing (or at least a little light duck-walking), and then doing that from 20 minutes at a time, for up to three or four hours, leaves me absolutely breathless.

So any observations that I have about how musos ply their trade are made in that context. (See this is the fine print and early warning sign that so many miss and the next thing I’m being pilloried and people are jumping to conclusions so fast they strain their hamstrings.) Continue reading

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1993: One Year Into My Life On Stage(s), A Monster Is Born!

1993: One Year Into My Life On Stage(s), A Monster Is Born!

1993: One Year Into My Life On Stage(s), A Monster Is Born!

In 1992 I was press-ganged, as organically-chosen head of the social club of my workplace, and the person most likely, to present a charity trivia quiz for a couple of hundred people.

That night in mid-September 1992 when I picked up a microphone for the first time properly — the Kraken awake’d.

Bill Quinn died that night and Billy Quinn awoke.

Some months later, needing a gag for our follow-up, I wrote to two likely lads who were then plying their trade on Triple J, formerly 2JJ or 2 Double J.

I wrote my letter, forgot about it and life continued. Six days before the 1993 quiz, I came rolling in, rolling in, rolling rolling, as I came rolling in [drunk] and my long-suffering then wife said a package had arrived and was in the hall.

Yeah, I did a few cartwheels and dive rolls that night. Therein was the tape with this on which I later edited to remove references to the selected charity (The Smith Family) so I could re-use it to get utility for many other charities, not for profits and 21 years later…. I think I need to book a certain venue for a date in September.

Enjoy. I know I did and have!

Billy Quinn
Overheard Productions
www.overheardproductions.com

A Folking Memory of Songs and Under-garments and Bravado and Musical Performance Advice from an Illawarra Folk Festival, Bra’

Andrew Winton, David Hyams and Bernard Carney at the bar, Illawarra Folk Festival. Photo by Bill Quinn.
Andrew Winton, David Hyams and Bernard Carney at the bar, Illawarra Folk Festival, 2012. Photo by Bill Quinn.

Some of my Facebook posts go on for days. Some have applied for their own postcodes.

Many people struggle with this and often ask, “What the hell are you gabbling on about?”

They’re falling into the trap of thinking I’m writing only for them. Yeah, I am writing for publics, but mostly it’s my way of thinking. I’m an extroverted extrovert. I can only make sense of my world by writing stuff down or hearing it out loud.

(And I’ve tried over the years to scream from Mt Painter how much I adore and admire and am jealous of introverts, but they jump to their own conclusions, pull a hammy, and block me and tell everyone I’m a truckwit. Shame.)

In part, it’s also my way of leaving my own feathers and tributes before there’s no place for them here on this earth. Thank you, Bernard Carney (CDs available now).

Well, that escalated into existentialism quickly.

Bill Hairy O'Quinn from County Clare.
Bill Hairy O’Quinn from County Clare.

Over on Facebook, I’m counting down to Easter Sunday 31 March 2013 when I have my head and face shaved for the Leukemia Foundation. Read all about it here: https://overheardproductions.com/2013/03/15/billys-going-the-nude-nut-worlds-greatest-shave/

And please join in on the event because if you’re at the National Folk Festival, I’d love you to be there and bear witness: http://www.facebook.com/events/102837806558033/?fref=ts

So, I started at Song #60 and through my travels and travails, the countdown has been serious, silly and… yeah, both of those.

Last night a song came on the Saturday night Forever Classic Hits and Memories Relive Show which was a perfect soundtrack to the never-ending task of cleaning, packing, clearing, selling and carting to op shops, charity stores and the tip.

Read on, McDuff! _________________________________________________________________ Continue reading

Kim Churchill — off to tour USA and Canada

Image courtesy of Kim Churchill
Image courtesy of Kim Churchill

Kim Churchill has a few more shows to go in Australia before he heads off to USA to join the tour of one Stephen William Bragg (aka Billy Bragg).

At the Cobargo Folk Festival in February, Kim Churchill was the recipient of my vicarious joy at this news, and we spontaneously had a chat, leaning on someone’s trailer, outside a venue, out in the open — which was a bit of a mistake because as I now know: don’t try to do these things in a flukey, swirling breeze.

I’m sure you’ll cope. Muggins here did the best he could with the sound balance.

Kim’s remaining Australian dates:

Thursday 14 March — Beav’s Bar, Geelong (Vic)
Friday 15 March — Thornbury Theatre, Melbourne (Vic)

Saturday 16 to Sunday 17 March — Blue Mountains Music Festival, Katoomba (NSW)

Claymore (Vic.) Flying Saucer Club, Friday 8 March 2013

Claymore (Vic.)
Claymore (Vic.)

Claymore Live

The Flying Saucer Club

First the details, then the existential ponderings.

Claymore are playing at

The Flying Saucer Club
4 St Georges Road. Elsternwick, Victoria

Friday 8 March 2013

From the presser:

Claymore’s reputation as outstanding entertainers has led them to perform at many local and international festivals, they have performed in New York, Scotland, France at the “Festival Interceltique“, the largest Celtic festival in the world many times, New Zealand, Sydney, Melbourne, Launceston (Tasmania), National Celtic Festival, Port Fairy Folk Festival, Queenscliff Music Festival, Big Blues Day Out, Perth International Arts Festival, Brunswick Music Festival and many more.

The band has played many live radio and television performances in Australia and overseas. 

With a mixture of traditional Scottish and Irish music and modern self penned Celtic rock the band represents the best of new age Folk Music.

Through a diverse and unique mix of sound’s featuring guitar, mandolin, fiddle, military snare, the highland bagpipes and even a didgeridoo, it is little wonder Claymore are one of Australia’s most popular festival acts.  A not to be missed extravaganza.

Claymore are one of the first bands to spark my interest in folk music. Unless you count that village fair in Surrey in 1979 where I first experienced Morris Dancing (and have been in therapy ever since). Continue reading